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The designed landscape at Glenapp is known for its arboretum, started in the mid-19th century, and its displays of rhododendrons and azaleas that date from improvements in the early-20th century. There are formal terraces and lawns around the house and a mid-19th-century walled garden with an imposing greenhouse almost 40 metres long. Glenapp is now a luxury hotel.

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

Location and Setting

Glenapp Castle is situated approximately 1.25 miles (2km) south-east of the coastal village of Ballantrae. The site commands a magnificent position overlooking the Firth of Clyde and Ailsa Craig. The A77 forms the eastern boundary of the designed landscape; beyond it, to the south-east, rise the Galloway Hills. The immediate surrounding landscape is largely agricultural. The aspect of the site, which slopes in a general north-west direction, has influenced the design of the terraced garden. The view to the sea and the Islands of Arran and Ailsa Craig are of prime importance from within the site. The policy woodlands are of some significance from the A77.

Glenapp House stands amid terraced gardens which overlook fine views of the River Clyde, Arran, and Ailsa Craig. The designed landscape extends to the A77 in the north-east, to Kilantringan Loch in the south, and to the policy woodlands in the west. Documentary map evidence is confined to the 1st edition map of 1863 and the 2nd edition map of 1896, comparison of which indicates that the extent of the designed landscape is similar to that of the mid 19th century. It includes some 262 acres (106ha) in the designed landscape today.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Glenapp House, listed category B, was built in 1870 to the design of David Bryce; it has been much enlarged and has lost its original clarity of design. Boartrie Hall House stands within the policies north-west of the Castle. The North Lodge and Boartrie Hall House were recently sold to private owners. Auchencrosh Lodge stands at the south entrance from the A77. The Court House was built by the Inchcape family to house a squash court; it is now a private house. The Garage Cottage stands south- west of Glenapp House. The swing bridge stands near the junction of the Kilphin and Auchencrosh Burns, to the north-east of the house. There is a particularly fine greenhouse in the walled garden.


Reference to the 2nd edition OS map of 1907 indicates the presence of parkland to the north of the terrace wall, where the woodland garden has since been developed, and, to the south, an area of parkland enclosed by the policy woodlands. In this southern area, individual parkland trees are indicated only in the area which had been woodland previously, according to the 1st edition OS map of 1863. The beech tree which remains today on the bank opposite the house would be one of these trees. Two wooded roundels had been established in the park by 1907. Since then, the Court House was built at the edge of the park and the area between it and Glenapp House planted as coniferous woodland. Part of this woodland was recently windblown, and the park could be restored to its original character. By contrast, the parkland area which lies to the east of the Garage Cottage is shown as woodland in both the 1st & 2nd edition OS maps. Since 1907 it has been developed as a park; it was used as a Deer Park until c.1975 and parkland trees have recently been planted by the estate, Glenapp Estate Co Ltd.


The woodlands on the site were planted between 1830-50. Some of the trees including beech and oak remain from this phase of planting. The first and third Earls of Inchcape were responsible for extensive conifer planting in addition to sycamore and beech. There is a seedling tree nursery at the west end of the walled garden. A rhododendron hedge runs along the edge of the drive and the conifer plantation on the west bank of the Auchencrosh Burn. Copper beech have been planted along the South Drive. The arboretum was established by the Earl of Orkney in the valley of the Kilphin Burn, to the north of the house. Several trees, including sequoia and spp. remain from his planting carried out in the mid-19th century. They, and other specimens planted by subsequent owners, were measured by Alan Mitchell in 1970. At that time, he identified a Cilician fir tree in the valley as being taller than any other known to him. Walks through the woodland were recorded on the 1st edition OS map of 1863, and the ride to the South Lodge was known as 'the Green Ride' in the 1st Earl's time.

Woodland Garden

The woodland garden has been created since 1907 to the north of Glenapp House, around the Azalea Pond, and now extends to the edge of the main drive. An area to the south of the walled garden has also been developed as a woodland garden. The wrought-iron frame of a gazebo stands on this site, indicating the remains of a water garden. The pond has since drained or been filled in. A collection of hybrid Rhododendrons and azaleas has been established which provide a fine display of colour in season.

At the South Lodge, around the pond, which is marked on the 1st edition OS map of 1863, ornamental trees and some water plants have been established.

The Gardens

The terraced formal garden has been created in the Italian style on the north side of Glenapp Castle. Lawns surround the immediate vicinity of the house. A double staircase descends to a terrace laid out with formal beds. A sundial forms the focus of the round central bed. From here, steps descend to a long border which in turn leads down more steps, flanked by two yew trees, to informal lawns on which specimen trees and shrubs have been planted.

Formal lawns on the south front of the house were enclosed by stone walls by the Earl of Inchcape. A perspective water colour of the house in 1870 by David Bryce indicates the original concept of the setting of the Castle by the Architect. A double row of lime trees has recently been established by the 3rd Earl of Inchcape on either side of the entrance to this enclosure. On its south-west side, a hornbeam avenue leads to a cherry walk which enters the walled garden on the south-east side. A croquet lawn has been laid out adjacent to the house.

Walled Garden

The walled garden lies to the west of the house. Its date of construction is unknown but, from reference to the 1st edition OS map, it appears to predate 1863. A range of glasshouses lines the south-facing wall. A stream, which dissects the garden on the NE/SW axis, runs beneath the central greenhouse, forming a particularly interesting composition. The original fig plants and peaches are grown under the glass, although the houses are not heated. A herbaceous border which includes an interesting range of plants, lines the footpath which extends along the central NW/SE axis. Box hedge enclosures in the east corner of the garden have been extended using privet and Cotoneaster.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts


01465 831212

Access contact details

Glenapp is now a luxury 5 star hotel.


The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

Reason for Inclusion

The arboretum within the designed landscape hosts an interesting collection of trees and the woodland and water habitats provide a valuable wildlife.

19th Century

The woodland structure of the present designed landscape was planted between 1830- 1860. Improvements were made following the construction of the house in 1870 and further embellishments were made to the garden by the 1st Earl of Inchcape after it was acquired by him in 1917.

The earliest records of the estate date from 1830 when the Earl of Orkney acquired the lands and planted extensively on what was then called Haw Hill. By 1863, according to available map evidence, there was no trace of the original house, although the walled garden existed. Mr James Hunter acquired the estate in 1864. He was created Deputy-Lieutenant of Ayrshire in 1868 and, two years later, built Glenapp House.

20th Century

In 1917, the estate was sold to James Lyle who was created Lord Inchcape of Strathnaver in 1924 and subsequently Viscount Glenapp of Strathnaver and Earl of Inchcape in 1929. He was responsible for extensive alterations to the house and policies. The 3rd Earl succeeded in 1939. During World War II, the estate was used for army exercises but is reported to have been left in good order. Since the War, it has been used as a shooting lodge and for commercial forestry.

Glenapp Castle was sold in 1982 with some 28 acres of land to Mr Frank Shidler who now spends several months of the year at Glenapp from his native America.


Victorian (1837-1901)

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • Historic Environment Scotland An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland


  • Pond
  • Gazebo
  • Greenhouse
  • House (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Sundial
  • Tree Feature
  • Description: Arboretum.
  • Garden Terrace
  • Lawn
Key Information





Principal Building



Victorian (1837-1901)





Open to the public


Electoral Ward

South Carrick




  • Historic Scotland